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Photography Gear and Baggage Polices by Atlanta Photographer Maryann Davidson

Leaving Bulgaria

Atlanta Photographers Maryann Davidson Photography Plovdiv Horse

Today I leave Bulgaria. . . A few weeks ago, my journey began in the Atlanta airport. I arrived early to the Lufthansa Airline counter to drop my bags, having already printed my boarding pass at home. My checked bag was the exact weight allowed – 23kg (50 pounds). However, they also weigh all carry-on bags, which combined can be no more than 8kg (17 pounds). I asked to pay the overweight charge for my single carry-on bag but that wasn’t allowed. So, I was instructed to put items in my checked bag and I could pay for overage on it. I explained, this bag always fits underneath the seat in front of me – no need for overhead storage. I was rudely asked to step aside and lose some weight then come back. I didn’t feel comfortable putting my livelihood and items of such value under the plane – what if my camera gear got damaged or lost?! I am always nervous about the expensive photography gear and baggage policies because, over the years,  I have had numerous items “disappear” out of the checked luggage between check in and arrival.

What are the least important, lesser value items? hmmm….I placed in the checked bag my laptop and medicine then stood back in line. When I got back to the counter, my checked bag was now overweight and my carry-on was still over by 2kg. Can I purchase a seat for my camera gear? No, not allowed because the flight is oversold. Again, I was asked to step aside.

I took everything out of my bag and placed my empty bag on the test-scale. My empty bag alone weighed 5 kilograms. That left me with only 3 kilograms of items I could place in my bag! So with a heavy heart, I put all my gear in the checked luggage and hoped for the best!

With an overweight checked-bag and an empty carry-on I stood back in line, which was now just 2 people and myself. The agent looked up and announced the counter was closed. I pleaded but they wouldn’t because it was “1 hour prior to departure”. I continued to plead – It’s the international terminal and I could get through security  and to the gate in less than 5 minutes. The agent just turned her back and walked away.

I take the blame because I should have checked Lufthansa’s baggage policy – sigh, I should have checked the policy and started with a lighter backpack. Nothing else to do but go home, call my client in Bulgaria to apologize, and re-book the ticket for their very next flight (which wasn’t until the following day). On the way out of the airport I noticed Air France was also going to Sofia, Bulgaria and departed in less than 2 hours. Oh happy day! I repacked my bags to their original condition and (by the way, according to Air France baggage policy) was well under weight. Thank you Air France for such a pleasant experience and smooth flight from purchase to finish.

Atlanta Photographer Maryann Davidson Photography Bulgaria Clay Pot

With room to spare in my luggage (and flying Air France!), I decided my last day here I would go purchase a clay pot. I have been eyeing them everywhere for weeks. According to an old Bulgarian tradition, on Good Friday everyone should buy a new clay pot for their home. So in the pouring down rain, I walked to town and bought a beautiful blue clay pot and a set of bowls from a charming gentleman that makes them by hand.

On the way back to the hotel, soaked and freezing, I stopped by my favorite cozy cafe. (I will miss so many things about Bulgaria.) With still a few hours before I need to catch the flight, I’m sitting here enjoying a bite to eat and something warm to drink. The music filling the cafe is, appropriately, John Mayer’s Covered in Rain. . .

Atlanta Photographer Maryann Davidson Photography Sofia Bulgaria Rain Day

“It’s alright, if you don’t want to go on. It’s alright, if you don’t want to be alone. Oh it’s alright, if you don’t want to go home. I understand, I understand, I understand. When I’m covered rain, rain, rain. Covered in rain, rain, rain.” – John Mayer

Photography Gear and Baggage Policies by Atlanta Photographer Maryann Davidson

by: Atlanta Photographer Maryann Davidson _ (c) all rights reserved

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Maryann Davidson

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

– Dolly Parton, Country Singer

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